Govs call for release of $1bn excess crude funds

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By Ben Agande

ABUJA—State governors, Tuesday, called on the Federal Government to release the sum of $1billion from the excess crude account, which is a subject of litigation between the federal and state governments, warning that on-going projects in states would be stalled if the money was not released.

Addressing state house correspondents after a meeting of the National Economic Council, the governors said though the council resolved that the case in court should proceed while avenues were explored to find amicable resolutions, the Attorney General of the Federation was directed to find ways of paying the money to the states.

Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo, who led the governors of Ekiti and Ebonyi states as well as the deputy governor of Sokoto state to the briefing, noted that the issue of the excess crude account was not a pointer to a dispute between the states and federal government but meant to resolve how such monies should be shared .

On the prevailing fuel scarcity in some states, the governor of Gombe State said the council was briefed on the payment of subsidy to marketers whose claims had been verified, adding that government was working had to verify the other outstanding claims.

According  to him, payment of up to N881billion has so far been made after verification,  while about  N100billion was still needed for settlement and  still being verified.

Other decisions taken by council, the governors said, were the issue of abuse of siren by government officials and other persons; Nigeria’s Centenary celebration; the establishment of complimentary security outfits by state governments, the state of federal roads and  the construction of a national broadband and ICT centre for the nation.

Speaking on the setting up complimentary security outfits (Vigilante Groups) by state governments, and the use of sirens, council directed that the office of the national security adviser Office NSA should proceed to collaborate with States and expedite action as regards to stopping use of siren while Security agencies should ensure procurement of tracking equipment to support operation.

On the proposed celebration of Nigeria’s 100 years of amalgamation which the Secretary to the Government of the Federation briefed the council on, council  commended and bought in the idea and resolved that the Governors should prepare their input to key in the programme before the end of 2012.

Council also set up a committee on the building of broadband and ICT centre made up of six governors and telecom operators which is expected to submit its report at the next council meeting.

The council also enjoined States to submit preliminary action on grazing land in their various states of the federation in order to minimize the incidence of frequent clash between farmers and cattle herdsmen.

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